Phil Noto’s Northstar Wedding Cover: Beautiful Art, Terrible Omen
The great Phil Noto is a master at catching those little moments of empathy. He excels at finding pathos in characters' faces, at capturing that tiny flicker of the eyes, that small turn of the mouth or tilt of the head, the moment that expresses the soul of character. He's awesome, is what we're saying. And that makes him a great choice for the variant cover for Astonishing X-Men #51, the wedding of Jean-Paul Beaubier (Northstar) and Kyle Jinadu.
The cover is a "create your own wedding" variant featuring tender snapshots of some of Marvel's best-known couples, including Jean-Paul and Kyle. It also features a prominent blank spot where fans can add their own wedding photo or draw one in. It's a very sweet idea, and Noto's portraits are beautiful, but we couldn't help notice a very important thing: most of these couples are not together anymore. That can't be a good sign.
First, the good news. Three of the nine couples (other than Jean-Paul and Kyle) are still together. Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic) and Sue Storm (Invisible Woman) remain the very model of family life among superheroes. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones have started a family and seem happy together. And Ororo Munroe (Storm) and T'Challa, King of Wakanda (Black Panther) are going through a little marital discord at the moment due to a massive summer-long crossover event called Avengers vs. X-Men, but they did rush into their marriage by completely forgetting to have a courtship period, so what can you expect? They'll work it out.
Now for the bad news. At the top of the page we have Charles Xavier and Imperial Majestrix Lilandra Neramani of the Shi'ar. They didn't have a big ceremony that I can recall, but Charles was Lilandra's official consort, so they were definitely space-married. (Some people don't believe that space marriage counts as real marriage, but we at ComicsAlliance believe in atmospheric marriage equality.) But as it turns out it doesn't matter; their cosmic union was annulled by the Shi'ar council after his evil twin tried to trigger a Shi'ar war. Lilandra later lost her throne and suffered an even more ignominious fate when she was killed by Darkhawk. So, that relationship is over.
Next are Hank Pym (Ant Man, Giant Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Wasp) and Janet Van Dyne (just Wasp). They got married when Hank was in his Yellowjacket guise and suffering from a delusional personality disorder, so he was pretending not to be Hank Pym, and Janet was pretending not to notice because she thought it was the only way she would ever get Hank to marry her. Healthy! This was followed by mental breakdowns, spousal abuse, separation and divorce. They later reunited but never remarried, and then his Skrull doppelganger turned her into a bomb and she blew up, so that was that.
In the middle of the left page we see the wedding of Vision and Wanda Maximoff (the Scarlet Witch), with bridesmaids Iron Man, Thor, Mantis and ghost Swordsman. Theirs was always likely to be a troubled marriage, because she was prone to moments of crazy and he was prone to moments of robot. They started a family together despite the fact that it is completely impossible for a robot to father children, but tragically lost the children when reality reasserted itself. This event, combined with Vision's being dismantled by a coalition of world governments and reassembled without a personality, and Wanda going mad and trying to kill everyone, led to the irreparable breakdown of the marriage. I'm fairly sure he's dead now, but they can rebuild him; they have the technology.
Wanda's brother Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver) and the Inhuman princess Crystalia Amaquelin had a pretty terrible marriage from the start. Her family never liked him, probably because they were the Royal Family of the Moon and didn't think he was good enough for her, and also because he was an insufferable jackass who, like his sister, was prone to periods of insane supervillainy. They had a child; she had an affair; he made nefarious plans with Hungarian Communists and horoscope-themed androids. Their marriage was eventually annulled and she entered into a political marriage with Ronan the Accuser of the Kree, and we hope they are very happy together.
The marriage between Namor McKenzie, king of Atlantis, and Marrina Smallwood, an alien hatched from a prehistoric egg and imprinted with human DNA and aquatic superpowers, was very turbulent - mainly because she turned into a sea monster and he had to kill her, but also because they were just very different people, you know?
And finally Scott Summers (Cyclops) and a redhead. I assume it's his second wife, Jean Grey, and not his first wife Madelyne Pryor, the clone of his second wife. Scott abandoned his first wife and their son Nathan so he could get back together with Jean, which led Maddy to go crazy and make a pact with demons. Scott and Jean raised Nathan in an apocalyptic nightmare alternate future timeline, but they later grew apart because he's been fooling around with the destructive entity named Apocalypse and she's been dabbling with the destructive entity named Phoenix and it made for an awkward bridge quartet. Scott had an affair with a blonde (he's really not a great moral compass), and Jean died fighting an imposter Magneto. In fact, both of Scott's wives are now dead. Probably.
So those are the models for Jean-Paul and Kyle's marriage. Separation, divorce, annulment, insanity, abuse, affairs, abandonment, villainy, death, sea monsters and fictional children.
Good luck, guys!
Astonishing X-Men #51 goes on sale in June.